CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - At a grassroots campaign rally to push an extension of middle-class tax cuts, President Obama today motioned to an "Abraham Lincoln" impersonator standing in the crowd, calling the remarkable resemblance a sign that one major Republican backs his second term.
"My homeboy from Illinois," Obama joked, pointing out the tall, slender man with a beard and top hat. "And an outstanding Republican endorsee."
But the claim about Republicans is as much a fantasy as would be having the real Honest Abe in the front row.
Obama told an energetic group of 1,600 Iowa Democrats he wants to raise taxes on wealthier Americans at the end of the year, including himself and GOP rival Mitt Romney, to pay for investments in the middle class.
"I know I can afford it, and to give me another tax break, or to give Warren Buffett another tax break, or to give Mitt Romney another tax break that would cost about a trillion dollars and we can't afford it," Obama said.
"So this has nothing to do with me wanting to punish success. We love folks getting rich," he added. "But I do want to make sure that everybody else gets that chance as well."
Repeating familiar refrains from the stump and his tax policy announcement at the White House Monday, Obama cast himself as the champion of tax fairness, battling a GOP rival who has favored the opposite.
"I bet on American workers; I bet on American manufacturing," Obama said.
"Governor Romney has experience owning companies that were called pioneers in the business of outsourcing," he said. "As long as I'm president, I will keep fighting to make sure jobs are located here in the United States of America."
Obama did not mention Romney's overseas finances or tax returns, which have become a flashpoint of debate, pushed by Democrats and his campaign.
But the president did subtly exhort the crowd of supporters to "cut through the nonsense" and "identify what's true" in the swirling debate about outsourcing and transparency now spilling out in ads on TV.
Advice that could be equally applied to ads and messages of his campaign, as well as his rival's.